Thompson tells NBC 5's MaryAnn Ahern the race is a "toss-up" at this point.
Former Governor Jim Thompson supports State Sen. Kirk Dillard's bid in the Illinois primary but concedes Bruce Rauner's 25-point lead may be too much to overcome.
"He may well win the primary if those polls are sound," Thompson said Friday in an exclusive one-on-one interview with Ward Room.
"Rauner's lead at this point looks pretty tough," Thompson added. "If that lead holds up, it looks like he will be the Republican nominee and then you're going to see the fight of the century."
Thompson said whoever wins the nomination will be in for "a real fight right up to the end."
"Illinois is a toss-up at this point," he said.
The primary election takes place March 18.